Allyn House, Hartford Connecticut

The Allyn House at the corner of Asylum and Trumbull Streets in Hartford, around 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2015:

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The Allyn House was built in 1857 by Timothy Allyn, and in its heyday was one of the city’s premier hotels.  In his 1867 Illustrated Guide to the Connecticut Valley, Henry Martyn Burt describes it as “the largest and most elegant” of Hartford’s hotels, and that “no pains have been spared to make this a first class hotel in every respect.”  As built, it could accommodate almost 300 guests, many of whom were likely businessmen involved in Hartford’s insurance industry, as well as politicians working and visiting the state capital.  Around the time that the first photo was taken, it was the Hartford residence of many prominent state politicians; at various times the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Comptroller, Attorney General, and Speaker of the House lived here.

The ground floor of the building had several stores, including the Allyn House Drugstore, which as seen in the first photo offered “Ice Cream Soda,” and another sign advertises that “We Make A Specialty of Fancy Egg Drinks.”  There are two bicycles leaning against the building, and based on the frames one appears to be a men’s bike, and the other a woman’s bike.  Perhaps a young couple stopped at the drugstore to get some ice cream soda on a hot summer day?

The building was demolished in 1960, and today the location is at the southeast corner of the large block around the XL Center.  However, one of its contemporaries survives today; the building at 105-115 Asylum Street is located diagonally across the intersection, and it was built in 1855.  It was also owned by Timothy Allyn, and architecturally bears some resemblance to the former Allyn House.  A present-day photo of it can be seen on the Historic Buildings of Connecticut blog.

5 thoughts on “Allyn House, Hartford Connecticut”

  1. At the time the Allyn was demolished in 1960, I had left that period behind and was a year from high school graduation.
    I lived on the second floor with my family while I attended 5th grade at the Barnard Brown elementary school. I remember the ledges were wide enough for the pigeons to roost. The windows were big which made the one room light and airy. No window screens, but that never seemed to be a problem. We managed not to fall out. Chief among memories were the glass transoms above the room doors. One day, clowning around with the opener, one fell out of its frame onto my head which made my brother laugh. I guess I had a thick head because 65 years later, I’m still getting into mischief. I also remember playing marbles in the dirt behind the hotel. It wasn’t a bad place to live…lots of foot and car traffic for a couple of kids to watch from upstairs. In the days before we even had a black & white TV, it provided mind development without much effort.

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    • Hello
      My ancestors, the D’Esopos lived around Asylum Street although that may have been in the 1930-1940s. Way back, their address was 1179 Main Street which I think is now on the other side of the highway. I’m sure you walked the same streets!

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  2. My great great grandfather was Timothy F. Allyn – (1816) from the papers in my possession this is my ancestor- his daughter was my great grandmother Florence Mae Allyn Williams- I am still trying to find out the names of Timothy’s parents

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  3. My Dad worked there in 1952-53. He was their handyman. We had a 2 bedroom apt with a kitchen. We just moved to Hartford from upstate NY. I also went to Barnard Brown elementary school. Just like Kathie Tietze , we played with marbles & hide & seek in back of the hotel. It was a different time in my life, some good & but I missed all my friends from upstate NY. I was sorry to hear that the hotel was demolished in the 60’s. I’m 74 now and it was a small part of my life…

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  4. The Connecticut Branch of the National Woman’s Party used a room in this building as it’s state headquarters during the women’s suffrage campaign.

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